Time for Broughton to break his silence

Ever since it became obvious to supporters that Liverpool Football Club was “in the wrong hands” the arguments have raged about exactly whose fault it was.

Raising a glass to Huang's departure?Today, the club is still in the wrong hands. Today, the arguments rage about what kind of owner Kenny Huang might have been. Today, we’re talking in the past tense when discussing the man said to be fronting a bid that had the backing of China’s sovereign wealth fund. Huang pulled out of the sales process last night, clearly frustrated at the way he’d been treated.

This club has been at war with itself for three years. This war means all trust has gone. Not only will any potential bidder be instantly met with suspicion but also at times will anyone seen to have put their trust in that potential bidder.

And so with Huang’s withdrawal we’re all arguing about whether he left the process because he was badly treated or if it was because he never had a serious hope of taking over to start with. We’re arguing about whether he was right to expect Broughton to hurry the process along or if his impatience suggests he was never going to be a good owner.

And as we argued amongst ourselves our club’s owners no doubt raised a glass to each other over the phone, celebrating the fact that if a bidder pulls out it no longer matters how viable their proposal was. The risk he might have a viable bid – probably not to their liking but acceptable to the board – would have been causing them a great deal of panic.

It doesn’t matter to them if he was at the table to start with or not – just as long as he’s not at the table any more. Did anyone else on the board raise a glass at the news he’d withdrawn?

We’re being asked to trust a board that on the whole has done little to earn our trust.

We still aren’t certain how Martin Broughton or Christian Purslow came to be on the club’s board in the first place. We’re told they’re here for the good of the club, not the owners. For various reasons we are, of course, suspicious about that.

We temporarily put our suspicions to one side and suspended our doubts to give them time to get the sales process moving and new owners in place. We put our trust in them.

In return we continue to be treated like our views don’t count. We are constantly reminded that we’re not supporters, we’re customers. We’re not just customers, we’re loyal customers. Mugs even. No matter how hard they knock us down we keep getting back up and taking more.

Is our definition of what’s “best for the club” the same as theirs?

If it was they’d try harder to keep us informed, to ease our fears, to reassure us that they are striving to bring us what’s best for the club.

Ian Ayre said in an interview published by the Daily Post this week that “it’s our website which is the most important tool for the club outside the team itself”.

So why don’t the board use it more often?

If the board are happy that they have acted correctly in their dealings with Kenny Huang then why not tell us? If he’s not a credible bidder, if he’s not proved he has the backing, if he’s a long way short of being the “best” bidder and if his withdrawal was nothing for us to worry about then why not tell us? Why not pop into the club’s own TV studio to record a short interview telling us we don’t need to worry?

The bidding deadline has passed so what harm would it do to go on the record (instead of leaking it off the record) to tell us how many viable bids there are on the table? Is it because there aren’t any viable bids on the table? And were there any on the table yesterday morning?

The club deemed fit to release a statement a week ago. Christian Purslow was happy to go onto the radio to speak to a sympathetic journalist on Sunday. All week we’ve seen suggestions that senior officials at the club are briefing the media – off the record of course.

We know that if Kenny Huang’s offer was only as high as £400m that the owners would do all in their powers to block it. We know that it only takes one of the English members of the board to help them block it.

Last night’s statement from Huang and the lack of any word from the club has reminded many of us of the circumstances in which Martin Broughton arrived at the club.

There were claims that he had been brought in at the request of Hicks and Gillett through an old Hicks associate, Michael Klein. One report said at the time: “Klein goes back a long way with the Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks and is believed to have been instrumental in persuading RBS not to pull the plug on the club.” Another report claimed that Klein had “helped to secure Broughton’s services by approaching him on behalf of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, Liverpool’s owners.”

And these reminders mean that our focus shifts away from how credible Kenny Huang’s bid might have been to questions about how credible the majority of the club’s board actually is.

Huang may well be out of this game – but Broughton isn’t. And it’s time he explained what’s really going on. Time he explained where his priorities and loyalties lie. Time he looked down from that seat in the director’s box and proved he was he man who could get us out of the wrong hands.

32 thoughts on “Time for Broughton to break his silence”

  1. i said the same thing yesterday that the board need to come out now and tell us whats happened and happening,you have put it into words much better than i could and i applaud you for that and getting the word out for us and our great club.

  2. Get off your soap box and stop whinging Support your club!!!

    Leave the boardroom stuff to the people in the know!

    Keep what going on out of the public domain (which is what Huang continually failed to do).

  3. Redmist you are a clown, if we don’t keep a watch on the boardroom there might nt be a club to support. Your not Purslow or Broughton are you.

    Very good article I think your dead right about Broughton. I’m very suspicious of his role.

  4. What do you think of this article?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/davidbond/2010/08/just_three_weeks_after_he.html

    My personal opinion is that he’s said far too much in the media. Just think of the benefits this saga may have had in his career. Especially if he’s planning on making more sporting investments in the future. Maybe he had the backing of CIC, maybe he never, but if he had the cash, why not bide his time instead of pulling out?

    Furthermore, I perceived the nature of his statement to be an embarassing attempt to mobilise a vulnerable support desperate for a messiah with very deep pockets and equally, a genuine love for the club. They’re just words with no action.

    Like the above article states, and like you’ve said previously Jim, normally you don’t hear of a takeover until it’s done, which makes Huang’s public airings even more questionable.

    Which leads me to my next point, you could argue that we were lucky to hear Purslow’s interview on five live the other day when considering the way other takeovers have been carried out. That’s when the likes of yourself will question Purslow’s motives, maybe he is trying to bide time and relieve some pressure from himself.

    What is certain is that we wouldn’t be clambering for information if we fully trusted the board’s intentions, which is clearly one of the main points on your blog. If we knew they had the club’s interests at heart, we would be fully focussed on a very important game on a Monday night.

    On the game – it will be very interesting to see how adventurous Roy is with the way the team is set up. I think they are there for the taking, and we should approach the game as such. 

  5. Spot on. It is the lack of clarity in communications between board and fans that is so galling. Calling Broughton out is exactly what is needed.

  6. Do turn it in. No Liverpool fan wants to board to fuel this saga through the media and this has never been the ‘Liverpool Way’ of doing business.

    If you have proof Huang had the kite the put it in then public domain. If not then the board were probably right to feck him off as QSL Sports looks a right two-bit operation.

    The rest of us are looking for the right person not the first to flutter their eyelashes.

  7. For those who feel that it’s illegitimate to question the board, I say you are apologists for the yanks. The questions posed here are perfectly legitimate for anyone who loves the club. I for one will not support blindly. It’s maybe time to think the unthinkable and start direct action against the club we love. I no longer subscribe to the club website and don’t buy any LFC merchandise. The banks need to know the fans mean business and they must act to get rid of the lying yanks.

    keep questioning 7& YNWA

  8. Jim I usually agree with your analysis but on this one I think that you are being needlessly impatient.

    Because the fact is there is very little credible information that has been released regarding what is essentially a confidential process. Huang’s involvement has raised concern from the very start, rightly or wrongly, but largely due to issues of his own making.

    I don’t know if any on the H&G side have been briefing against him, but frankly they didn’t need to as Huang or his associates have been vocal for weeks and not doing themselves any favours. Briefs to Evans and Barrett at the Times raised public awareness and floated the idea of CIC; Marc Ganis followed this up with 2 published interviews and email exchanges with Nick Harris of SI; Franklin Templeton issued a PR release which was then countered by Hill & Knowlton; RAWK has been the centre of Huang positive deepthroat ITK’s such as Bamba and finally Huang himself conducted an interview in his own sports publication. The latter of which Huang risibly said that he couldn’t say much because he was subject to a confidentiality agreement! Well horses and stables tardily closed spring to mind.

    But lets face it after only a few days since the bid submission deadline rumours of Chinese impatience and walk away threats were posited, then only a week into the process which Purslow called sorting ‘the wheat from the chaff’ Huang pulled the plug on his own bid.

    We have no idea what is going on but I don’t expect the LFC board to make a public statement everytime someone changes their mind.

    Iv’e been very critcial of Purslow and Broughton in the past, often relying on some of your analysis to make public some of their misdemeanors. And you are right Trust does have to be earned first. However I do believe Purslow when he referred to the ‘independent board members’, I really do believe that they will act and think independently from H&G in the better interests of both LFC and the primary creditors, RBS.

    My take on this is that it is a distressed sale and that RBS are placing lots of pressure on the recalcitrant yank owners. H&G will fight tooth and nail to maximise any profit or failing that delay the sale. Broughton, Purslow and Ayres have to make sure that any sale is watertight from litigation from H&G that may occur down the line.

    As such I think that it is essential that the board consider bids in the requisite time and are not rushed, because they will have to prove that they have considered all bids, even those that may ‘favou’r H&G more. Secondly this process has to be confidential.

    If Huang is prepared to compile a bid and manage the interests of secretive investors and sovereign funds, it is more than likely that his process has taken several months to get this far. I doubt after all that he would walk away after less than a week of evaluation and negotiation. So he either a) was a cowboy to begin with, b) has submitted an inferior bid and now does not want to lose face or c) knows the process and conditions that the independent board, Barcap & RBS are working under and will resubmit a bid at a later, tactical date. The latter suggests a strategy decided with Broughton et al. The real deadline may be the date the RBS loans expire.

    I’ve no idea what the truth is, but I have far more confidence in this process than the one conducted by Parry and Moore’s 3 years ago and we all have to be patient and allow people to manage it and get it right.

  9. Sell Liverpool To Bill Gates (50%) and Mukesh Ambani (50%)

    And Appoint Jose Mourinho…

    Roy PLEASE sign only…
    1) Rafael Van De Vaart
    2) Remy OR Jermain Defoe OR Michael Owen
    3) John Arne Riise

    Sign OUT:
    1) Diegi Cavalieri
    2) Insua
    3) Lucas

    KEEP..
    1) Mascherano
    2) Babel

  10. @ Al, Now that’s the most logical article I’ve read in a long time. Certain journalists have stated in the past that a simple google check would have told one all they needed to know about Hicks – well use that same logic here & would you really sell the club to this consortium on what we know. Jim obviously feels he knows more that he is saying about Heung & co and maybe he would let us know what that is otherwise he is taking a very big jump to be painting things the way he is. If there are no other bids & it does all fall apart then clearly martin Broughton is a liar, & this reputation will follow him in all his future BA negoticiations and anywhere else him might ply his trade.

  11. Sorry but I thought a forum was a meeting place for open debate!

    Now because I don’t agree with the approach or direction the article chooses to take I’m told to shut up and called a clown!

    I make no apology for not conforming to the thinking in this article or having a greater mental capacity than a domestic sheep!

    I’m a football supporter and Liverpool is and always will be the team of my choice.

    Before Kenny Huang arrived Liverpool supporters where all talking solely and optimistically about football matters. The media where quiet, we’d forgot about the boardroom politics and where prepared to let the board do their job.

    Now frankly after Huangs disgraceful publicity (he still won’t shut up:Kenny Huang blames Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton for failed takeover) stunt were all talking about finance and takeovers again. JUST LIKE LAST YEAR!!!!

    Sorry for trying to support my team as I have done for the last 30 years. I want the Liverpool of old back! And that Liverpool does not wash its laundry out in public!

    You need to make a choice? Liverpool or just any other team!

    Jim Boardman – I have read many of your articles and generally like your rhetoric. However can we get back to talking about just the football please! Lets not encourage the multitude of southern lazy journalists.

  12. Can we realistically expect a businessman to come out and criticise a bidder simply to calm the fans? It would be more damaging to the club to get in a slanging match with someone we already know is a publicity whore.

    Let’s also be realistic again about what we are, we’re fans. We’re bottom on the pile. Why would Broughton jeopardise a potential sale (his main purpose) by issuing press releases just to keep us happy (after all some bidders prefer to remain in the shadows). I personally think you’re being a bit harsh on him.

  13. RedMist: You have to air your dirty laundry sometimes – especially when it starts to stink! If you want the Liverpool of old back – as almost all of us do, including Rafa – then we have to get rif of any tumours, ailments etc. You agree? Rafa tried to help the club by exposing the shenanigans of Purslow & the owners. If he didn’t bring their dealings to light, we would (I’m sure) still be sitting here today, unaware of the crap & debt they have piled on our club.
    So would you rather have had this dirty laundry tucked away in the boardrooms of Anfield? The only way to gtet back to the Liverpool of old, is if rats & their crap are exposed – which is what Jim (in his way) is trying to do.
    You can stick plugs in your ears, close youe eyes & ignore the crap that is going on. I for one, don’t want to.

  14. I posted this on another thread, but it’s just as relevant on this thread, seeing as how some here are falling over themselves to vilify Huang.

    I’m stunned at just how so-called Liverpool fans are falling over themselves to buy into this whole vilification of Kenny Huang.
    It seems like Gillett’s underground campaign in the press to ‘ugly’ him up worked far better than he ever imagine it would in his wildest dreams.
    Even more dumbfounding is the fact that ‘fans’ who no more than 12 months ago were justifiably spitting venom and invectives where the topic and persons of Hicks and Gillett were concerned, are now acting as if those two clowns are the better devil they know to the evil angel that Huang potentially could be.

    First of all, Huang’s claim to have provided proof of funding has not only been backed and corroborated by sources at both banks involved in this, but more importantly, it has not been disputed in any broad or categorical manner by Broughton or any member of the Liverpool board. You may argue that they have the right to keep that information to themselves, but you have to ask yourself, in light of the current PR mess that’s boiling over and building up over their seeming mishandling of this whole sale, why wouldn’t they just nip that speculation in the bud and come right out and officially confirm that Huang did not provide adequate proof of funds if that is indeed the case?
    In politics the best confirmation of a government/party decision is the absence of a straight and unequivocal denial. The same would seem to apply here as well.

    Secondly, for all of those funds that are claiming there’s nothing wrong with the club still waiting in H & G hands while a better buyer is sought (since Huang is no longer in the picture), don’t you realize that in the absence of more buyers or bidders, when they (H&G) do go and refinance the loan and ask the banks to extend the repayments, that that will increase the amount of debt from the current GBP237 to around, if not, well over GBP300? Which would of course make it a less palatable enticement for a prospective buyer with higher debt.
    In other words, the longer these two clowns hold onto the club while fans wait and hope for a magical billionaire to swoop in and take over, the less and less likely the club is to be sold as the debt increases and its saleability decreases. So celebrating the apparent fact that Huang is no longer in the picture because he was supposedly too impatient, is actually like shooting yourself in the foot especially if it turns out that he really was the only credible bidder as the Club just becomes a less appealing prospect for new buyers.

    I think the club is in a lot of trouble if they can not get Huang to get back to the table because frankly speaking, there are no other credible buyers out there. And it will be a long time before anyone turns up that is capable while we rot under the burden of debt by those two idiots.

  15. I don’t want owners who are wiling to run away from what’s needed when things look difficult! So, Mr. Huang bye bye! Looking forward to owners who really want us for footballing reasons…

  16. cant believe some people think we should let board get on with it,we put money in that club week in and week out,i for one want to know whats what and the time is now.

  17. Shanks always maintained that he , the board , the players etc were there to serve the fans – if that was good enough for the Great Man then why is it not good enough for this current board – its not just the Yanks that are crap the Board are equally as bad.

  18. Great article for discussion and thought provoking too. I think making a statement or two regarding the sales will be good and we have been informed of that. Doing anything more would only lead to unnecessary media speculation. Maybe we can have clarity on when we can expect an announcement etc. Roy Hodgson is a great signing and the man to bring the club forward. However, it is too late and difficult to plan when you do not know what kind of money you have at your disposal etc due to sales. Anyway, probably the sales should be more for bringing about stability in the team e.g. academy, stadium, etc. One or two more addition to the first team and we are ready to give a good challenge.

  19. I’d like a bit of consistency, please. We all, rightly, lambasted the Yanks when they did *everything* in public. Klinsmangate, etc., all done in the full glare of the public.

    And we were angry. Why? because it “wasn’t the Liverpool Way” – now the self same people are moaning about a lack of communication and everything’s is too private! All of you bleating over transparency and your right to know. Jesus! Make your bloody minds up.

    Saying that you put money into the club so you *deserve* to know is nonsense – I buy lots of chocolate but I don’t expect the board of cadbury to justify their decisions to me.

    I suspect Huang was playing poker with a weak hand – he wanted to hurry the sale through before the other players saw just how weak his hand actually was. I also suspect that his financial claims were clever but false; and I for one am gutted that we won’t penetrate the Chinese market and reap those dividends as he suggested. But then, I don’t think he actually had the financial clout to deliver on his promises in the first place and that’s why he’s jumped ship.

    I may be wrong on that but it’s my gut reaction.

  20. Red_Scoop.

    Are you seriously comparing being a supporter to being a customer of confectionery? Most fans have an emotional investment to their club, it’s part of their life, part of the community. Fans have a bond with the club and each other, the day I’m just a customer and treated as such I’m out.

    Red_Mist.

    Stop being a sheep. The Liverpool way is dead, It died the day them two cowboys took over our great club and are bleeding it to death. I want to scrutinise everything they and their lackeys on the board do with a magnifying glass.

  21. The Liverpool Way died at least 10 years ago. This change of ownership decision will be the most important decision in the club’s history. As the sole of the club the fans need to be kept informed. Players, managers, owners come and go but the fans remain. Without the fans there is no LFC. Keep the fans informed.

  22. Oh, and by the way….I would’ve thought that with interest rates increasing our debt by the day then surely the person charged with selling the club should be working more than 1 day a week on the sales process. Had MB (or anyone else) been at it full time then the club may have already been sold by now.

  23. I agree with Red_scoop. If you remember the takeover of Chelsea and Man City, no one knew who was involved in the takeover negotiations until it was completed.

    For those of you who don’t realise that should be how important business deals are done. Huang came in making a media circus of his intentions giving all of these grandiose promises which seemed too good to be true (which they were) without actually speaking directly to the press or providing any evidence of his backers (if he had any). I was highly suspicious about this especially with the sketchy details of CIC (and would we really want to be owned by the Chinese government?).
    Unfortunately all of these promises caused a huge amount of optimism and then embarassment for the club.

    I’m sure there are serious backers as a spokesman for Seymour Pierce (advise companies on investment issues) said recently,

    “All I am prepared to say is that we have looked at it very carefully on behalf of would-be buyers, who we know are very serious, we know are cash rich, we know have the right incentive and are prepared to take a long-term view.

    “I can’t say any more at the minute. That’s not the way business should be done (in public).

    “A few years ago this firm represented Randy Lerner acquiring Aston Villa and until the word got out, we hadn’t said a word. The deal was then done quickly and decisively. There was then a public splash but it went quiet again.

    “That’s the right way football clubs should be dealt with. It’s a huge media event when one changes hands. I don’t think the media event should be the run up to that, it should be when it happens.”

    So lets just hope this is a genuine interest and that their may be others who don’t like to air every last bit of their actions in public.

  24. “In any takeover situation, when people resort to announcing it to the media, you have to question the seriousness of the offer. If the name of the prospective buyer comes out before the deal is done then probably it is never going to be done.”

    Keith Harris Former FA Chairman

    This says it all about Huang and co!!!

    Suspicious of Broughton? You should’ve been suspicious of Huang!

  25. Probably the greatest manager in Europe at the moment has spelled out clearly where our porblems originated from. We have being going downhill since 2004 but we just didn’t want to see it

  26. Kevin Wait!!!

    Won the Champions League in Istanbul& Super Cup in 2005 , FA Cup 2006. Returned to the Champions League final in Athens 2007 and second in the league in 2009!

    That’s decline eh…Mohrino is a cock..

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